Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel
Classification: Straight Bourbon
Company: Sazerac Company Inc.
Distillery: Buffalo Trace
Released: Ongoing (Limited)
Age: NAS (Bought from Fine Wines & Good Spirits that stated the bottle was 12 years old)
MSRP: $40 (2017)
Elmer T. Lee was one of the great Master Distillers of Buffalo Trace for 36 years, before retiring in 1985 and passing in 2013. As the pioneer of mass produced single barrel bourbons, Elmer was responsible for bringing Blanton’s to market and was eventually honored by Buffalo Trace himself with his own single barrel bourbon. This particular single barrel used Buffalo Trace’s #2 mashbill which is a high rye (~15%).
Honey upfront with undertones of maple and vanilla. This bourbon has a nose that doesn’t overpower you. Instead, it offers a package of light, sweet smells that make you think that someone served you dessert in the form of a glass full of bourbon.
Upon tasting this bourbon, I was treated to hints of peach, dried raisin, and maple candy. This was quickly followed by a burst of wood and spice akin to pre ground black pepper, which is expected out of a 12 year bourbon and one that uses Buffalo Trace’s #2 mashbill.
The finish on this was long and very dry. The spice disappeared and was replaced with leather, aged wood, and tobacco leaves that lingered in my mouth. Sitting and thinking about this finish brought visions of Elmer sitting in a rocking chair and enjoying a glass of his own bourbon while overlooking the bluegrass of the Kentucky countryside. A really delightful finish that’s indeed simple and easy to enjoy.
While lower in proof than most single barrels, this bourbon still provides a lot of good flavor, especially considering it’s been sitting in wood for 12 years. As far as single barrel’s go, this is a nice bourbon. It won’t knock your socks off in its nose, palate or finish. But, overall it still delivers a very well balanced product.
This bourbon is often overlooked. But, for less than $35 Elmer’s is a steal. Are there better single barrels out there? Sure, even ones that share the same #2 mashbill from Buffalo Trace (ala Blanton’s). However, for the price, you can’t beat Elmer’s. In fact, for a little more than a bottle of Blanton’s you can have two bottles of this single barrel…which you may need, as this Bourbon is a delight to share with friends on a relaxing Friday night.
A bourbon worthy of the Elmer T. Lee namesake.
Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel continues to honor the tradition of one of Buffalo Trace’s great master distillers. You get a delicious 12 year old single barrel that was pulled from the aging warehouses just in time, delivering a lot of nice subtle flavors without being overwhelmed with a woody taste. A lot of people often pass on this bourbon, and that’s a shame since it’s truly delightful, especially for the price. If you haven’t dived into the world of single barrel bourbons, this single barrel is a great place to start.
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